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Bad King John - Ridgeway Brewing

Not Rated.
Bad King JohnBad King John

Educational use only; do not reuse.

54 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 54
Hads: 112
Avg: 3.69
pDev: 15.72%
Wants: 6
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Stout |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Suds on 06-02-2008

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (29) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 54 | Hads: 112
Photo of MichialTanner1
3.22/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An impulse purchase, due to the label and my interest in English history. There is no way this beer could be as bad as King John himself, who was allegedly poisoned with a toxic ale.

Poured into a Spaten klug, this is almost an opaque black with a beige head that dissolved into nothing within about a minute. This would be hilarious if King John had been beheaded. However, there's really no lack of carbonation to the bottom.

If given a taste test, I would have thought this to be an English Porter. It isn't heavy or bitter. It's good, but not great--and opposed to the description on the label, it is actually "subtle". This would be a good pub pour and I really like the kind of sour, Worcester style smell to it rolling out of the mug.

So, I would say that this is at least as good as Henry III, maybe even Henry II. If they make a King Edward I, it had better be a Wee Heavy...

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Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.35/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very nice english black ale, lot´s of dark fruits in the taste and a nice chocolaty smell. Very sessionable. Pours black ale with a brown foam head that disipates quickly.

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Photo of Malt_Man
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at cellar temperature from 500ml bottle into straight pint glass.

A) Very dark ruby-black. Opaque; can just see through it when held to light. Absolutely no head; no carbonation visible. Hm.

S) Very little, despite being unrefrigerated. Warm malts, but very faint.

T) Very dark mild malt flavour, slight hint of roasting at the back of the mouth. What hops there are, are muted. A subtle and well thought-out taste profile. A bit weird for a 6% beer, the flavours become apparent in the mouth well after the swallow.

M) Creamy mouthfeel, almost no carbonation. Subtle bitterness in the aftertaste. As above, this is a subtle and well structured beer.

O) A nicely done ale; not even close to being a stout, and it doesn't claim to be one on the bottle, so the BA type is wrong. This is a beer to drink slowly and appreciate.

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Photo of interzen
3.01/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

500ml bottle poured into a nonic pint glass

Look: Flat cola. Seriously. Starts out fairly promising with a very dark pour (some ruby highlights if you hold it up to the light) with a head that had pretty much gone by the time I'd finished pouring. The net result looks like a pint of Coke. Not a good start.

Smell: Quite an earthy smell - lots of roasted malt and biscuity smells in evidence. Some dark fruitiness on agitation but the roasted smell dominate.

Taste: Again, quite earthy - roasted malts are very much to the forefront. Not a lot to distinguish it from other porters, let alone stouts.

Feel: Consider this as a porter and it's not too bad - fairly easy drinking with a medium/full body. Taken as a stout it's an epic fail for much the same reasons, in which case it's positively anaemic.

Overall: Is it a stout? Is it a porter? This is a beer with an identity crisis in more ways than one. It's not that it tastes bad; I like my beers malty and this one isn't too bad albeit a little one-dimensional. I think it's trying to be two things at once and doesn't really hit the spot on either count. Compared to something like Sam Smiths Oatmeal Stout, Bad King John is looking pretty woeful. Not a drain pour because I enjoyed the taste, but I can't see me seeking this out again.

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Photo of Hoppsbabo
3/5  rDev -18.7%

A: Pours out like Coca Cola. Fizzy but leaves absolutely no head whatsoever. Looks just like Coke.
S: Just a generic porter smell and ... tinsel?!!!
T: A generic smokey porter profile with a horrible corn snacks flavour. The aftertaste is actually very nice – fudge and caramel – but the initial wash is so bad that I'm questioning the quality of my bottle. It's very fizzy, albeit the bubbles are fine. Not like pop.
O: Hmm, could I have bought an infected bottle? Not sure I want to pay £2 for another bottle to find out. If this is Bad King John in its normal state then it's one of the worst stouts I've had.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.81/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark brown with a little transparency. Skim creamy tan head what leaves some really decent clingy skim-like lace.

Mild charred malt and creamy coffee notes. A whiff of chocolate.

Assertive charred malt that leads to a bit of creaminess in the mouth. Bitter coffee notes, chicory, carbon. But with all of those harsh edges, this one is…smooth. Finish is bitter and svn a little medicinal.

Medium to medium full. A little loose for a stout.

Very very decent brew. A bitter-focused English stout, with still a bit of smoothness. Worth a try.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.69/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Opaque dark brown body, crowned by a moderate, dense, dark tan head, which retains fairly well. The lacing is utterly glass-coating, and quite superb.

Aroma: Lots of roasted barley up front, followed by a fairly strong dark fruit presence, possibly dark plums, or figs.

Taste: Opens with bitter cocoa, and a sharp infusion of earthy hops. As the taste progresses, the hops reach ascendency, while the bitter cocoa is drawn out to a strong and lingering presence. Finishes with a lingering,earthy and bitter hop presence.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: Would have benefit ted from a more moderate hop selection, the hops were simply too earthy.

Presentation: packaged in a custom 19.9 ounce (500 ml) brown glass bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium brewing chalice.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.42/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Dec 2012. The last of my Sainsbury's Beer Hunt brews - from 2011! I've been sitting on this for a while; hope it's still OK. The label is edged by a quotation from Scott's novel Ivanhoe, and the name of the beer is presumably also taken from the book.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. Bottle conditioned. Appears black, though it is revealed as a dark reddish-brown when held to the light. Yields a decent head of creamy off-white foam that lasts for a minute or so before settling and disappearing. Aroma of dark roasted malt with hints of chocolate, caramel/molasses, grain, nuttiness, mild dried fruit, faint coffee and earthy yeast. Slightly sweet. A subtle but nicely rounded character.

Tastes of roasted malt with a dry, bitter finish. Notes of burnt grain, ash, liquorice, hints of coffee, chocolate, caramel/molasses, faint prunes, earthy yeast and stewed hops. An acrid quality pervades the flavour, along with a mild sourness. A strident, malt-driven bitterness upon swallowing, along with a touch of alcohol in the background. Mouthfeel is smooth, dry and tingly, with a slight spiciness and decent body. Somewhat astringent, with an aftertaste of bitter roasted malt and stewed hops.

An OK brew - more of a strong dark ale than a stout (not roasty enough in my opinion). The smell is nice, with balanced complexity. The taste is less pleasing - a touch too much roasted malt and burnt grain crowd out the other flavours, resulting in an excessively dry bitterness. Body could be a tad more meaty. Drinkable but nothing too special. Worth trying, but no need to seek it out.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from 1/2010 notes. Poured into a Caracole small snifter. Pours a dark brown amber, light tan head and light lacing. Mild roasted and sweet malt aroma. Light flavor of dark caramel malt, slight hops. Flavors nice but very subdued. Like most of the beer from this brewery, the flavors are OK, but too bland and low key. Light to medium bodied. This tastes more like a dark ale than a stout.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle (bottle conditioned): best before 17 Feb 2013, poured into my Abbot Ale glass tankard 9 Apr 2012.

Looks good: tan head on an exceedingly dark body.

The nose and taste are a great blend of dark chocolate, liquorice, bitter coffee and burnt prunes.

Not rich in body but flavoursome and interesting: a fine brew.

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Photo of Samp01
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A dark clear brown with a small short lived brown head on the pour. Aroma and Taste of roasted caramel malt, some coffee and dark fruit, with some liquorice notes and light bitterness. Palate is a medium body with moderate carbonation. Finish is a sweet roasted caramel malt, cacao, espresso with some light liquorice flavor and some bitterness on the end for balance. Both the aroma and flavor become more pronounced as it warms up. Overall a good tasty brew.

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Photo of avalon07
3.46/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a cloudy texture. There was an inch of creamy, fairly long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A very, very muted aroma of malt, coffee, and a little hops.

T: Tasted of light coffee notes, a good shot of malt, mild hops and a burnt quality. The flavor here is decent enough, but is certainly on the mild side.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a super dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Not necessarily a bad beer, but not particularly memorable either.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Russet-tinged black with steady beige head that leaves few trailers. Blackberry and ash on the nose with a bit of Band-aid.
Dark roast coffee, melted brown sugar, dates, hints of dark chocolate and cola-type caramel, then an assertively bitter hop ending made mostly of branch and autumn leaf.
Sweet comeback, dry linger. Medium, oily, chewy, slick, no burn.

Maybe a bit sugary and simple; not huge depth here. But good roasty notes; more oily than most. Oil and sugar do contrive to be a cloyingly bittersweet after a while, but at this strength you're not sessioning it anyway.

I'd been ready to write off Ridgeway based on rep and some very average beers, this earns them a stay of execution.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pored in one swift fluid motion into a tulip pint glass to avoid any sediment.

Black bodied with thick big bubbled beige head that quickly dispersed.

Rich coffee aroma with a fruity hint, maybe raspberry dunked in dark chocolate.

A nice spritely spicy taste, peppery with bitter notes the roast comes through nicely in coal tasting smack to round it off.

surprisingly sup'able probably due to the great carbonation making it an easy drinking experience.

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Photo of tvv375ia
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from 500ml bottle into imperial pint glass

A-more of a dark ruby color with about a finger of head that faded wuickly with a little lacing

S- a little coffee and some roasted malt smell

T-some coffee and dark fruits with a finish of some carmel

M-a little on the thin side for a stout, I like mine a little creamier

O-A lot of potential but not quite there maybe a stout light

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Photo of thepeter
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a brownish red with minimal head turning to film and decent lacing. Smells of rich sweet roasted malt some dark fruits and maybe some plum. Tastes like a sweet or a milk stout not enough hop presence or any complexity really. Not bad but nothing special. Feel is a bit too carbonated at first, again nothing special here. Not a bad beer but nothing I would buy again.

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle #3 of Sainsbury's Beer Hunt 2011! Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a black/very dark reddy brown colour, decent cream coloured head and good lacing.

Smells overall malty and burnt.

Tastes quite refreshing, the balance between malts and hops leans more towards the malts, though a nice hoppy bitter sweetness is their on the finish.

Overall quite a good stout, better than guinness anyway.

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Photo of 18tony
3.3/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

like my last girl this beer gave me no head, no matter how hard i tried.

the ups on this beer is it's abv.

the down on it is an average taste. i mean it wasn't bad by any means but it did not aspire to do more then that.

behind the alcohol nose, there is a slight carmel end as you would expect from a stout.

would i have another one? absolutely, if you're buying.

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Photo of treque
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: a deep brown with amber tints, clear, traslucent, thick creamy, long lasting, tant head, waste left behind on the glass

S: some roast, toast malts aroma

T: sweet malts, well balanced, toast, bitterness at the end, long final, medium body, moderate carbonation, residual sweetness

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Photo of jondeelee
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bad King John sports a medium-heavy nose, full of complex aromas that begin with cognac and Irish Cream, and move from there into more subtle hints of caramel, apple, and chocolate malt.

On the tongue, the beer is less flavorful than the nose would imply, but still bears a good amount of malty goodness, with caramels, fresh-baked breads, and a good smattering of chocolate malts dominating. Very subtle hints of tobacco and ash rest beneath the surface, and the whole brew has a creamy texture, much like milk or a good oatmeal stout. The aftertaste is predominantly darker flavors, such as chocolate malt and ash, and lasts for a while. Subsequent mouthfuls result in a slightly diminished taste profile. Mouthfeel is quite light for a black ale--medium-light on the larger scale--and carbonation is medium.

Overall, I found the flavors in this brew good, but was disappointed in not only what I thought was a missed opportunity at larger flavors, but also thicker mouthfeel. Still, this might be a good introduction to black ales for newcomers, as it does provide all of the requisite flavors, albeit in a lighter format.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer was a thin looking deep brown color with just a bit of fan head across the top. The lacing was nonexistent. The smell of the beer had some nice roasted malt aromas but they weren't overly strong. The taste was pleasantly light and had some flavors in it that I was having trouble pinpointing. The mouthfeel was thin but I didn't mind for some reason. Overall I thought it was a pretty good stout but still just about average in my opinion.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.47/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at a Shelton Bros event during Phila Beer Week. Thought it was from cask the way it was presented - filled to the brim of the glass, flat and still. Sipped it down slowly - very clean and thin in body and taste. Lightly sour/acidic coffee roast flavor, no chocolaty undertones, no hops, little discernible malt flavor. Every so often, I gave it a swirl - absolutely no carbonation. Not sure if that's the norm with this, but it certainly affected the feel, smell (which was super weak, coffee/malt-syrup sweet), and possibly flavor.

It's a decent stout, arguably a porter. It was black, showing rusty red with a half sip left. I'd give it another shot at some point, but I'd consider it a semi-bland table beer.

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Photo of tempest
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Tap and Table. Appeared just barely black with red highlights. This stout was drinkable and true to style, but uninspiring. The character is flat and lacks depth. There's just a roasted barley taste with a touch of dark chocolate. Yes, it nice. Yes, I'm a little tough on this beer. But there's a lot of potential for this style.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark cola pour comes off deep black in my duvel tulip. The head is a bit wispy and washy, parchment in color and weak on the hold. Lacing is moderate, a thin intricate spiderweb design covering the inside with a fair amount of coverage. Effervesce can be seen rising steadily along the glass edges of single file micro-bubbles rising at a moderate pace.

S: Medium sense of roast and dried dark chocolate appear on the opening scent. Aroma is simple, typical English pub fare, wont knock you off your feet or tickle your nostrils but is suited well enough within the style parameters.

T: Dark roasty nature brings a good sense of bitterness of dark fruit. Rich chocolate malts accompanied by some anise provide a smooth and easy flavor highlighted with a burnt caramel sweetness. Big on flavor on the open while it finishes out with a light and playful roast that is easy on the close.

M: Light to medium body, smooth coffee roast turns fuller as it sits. Good deal of carbonation tickling the tongue along with a fade and grace of dark fruit and roast of medium proportions.

D: Roasty yet incredibly smooth for flavor making for a solid good drinkability factor. The alcohol is very well hidden making you feel like you are drinking a session style pub at 5% rather then a tick above at 6%. Yeah I could easily enjoy a few of these in a nice typical English pub setting.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.41/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nothing like an awesome name for a big, bad, bold stout. Let's see if this stout is....well, stout.

Pours a very dark brown. Almost black. Ruby tints around the walls betrays the blackness. Nice, thick and somewhat creamy head. Looks lush.

Aroma isn't wonderful, but not bad. Not as strong as I thought it would be. Cola and roasted malt dominate. Semi sweet but sharp at the same time. A bit weak, though.

Taste is better. Roasty. The cola supplies some sweetness and an odd background taste...not quite plum. Light on the chocolate and coffee. Earthy and some anise on the end. Not quite sold on this beer.

It's not bad. Easy drinking. Would drink again

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Bad King John from Ridgeway Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.